LS POLLS|BJP, Modi responsible for 'worsening' Kashmir situation: Azad

Senior Congress leader and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad Wednesday blamed the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government for “worsening” the situation in Kashmir during its stint in power.

Addressing a party workers’ convention in Lolab, Kupwara, Azad said: “The situation in the Kashmir Valley had considerably improved when there was a Congress government at the Centre till 2014. The situation

 deteriorated after the came to power and created a situation like nineties in the Valley. If anyone is squarely responsible for the deterioration of the situation in Kashmir, it is the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi”.

“Apart from PM, a party from Kashmir which entered into alliance with them (BJP) is also responsible for the worsening situation in the Valley. I told this party many times that it will be a mistake to join hands with the BJP because it (BJP) is abusing Kashmiris from the past many decades. But they still allied with them and the result is in front of you,” Azad said.

He said that when the Congress and National Conference were in coalition in the state and Congress was at the helm in New Delhi also, “we put an end to militancy and ensured a peaceful environment in the Valley”.

He said the Congress governments at the Centre “gave everything that the chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir sought for the state when they were in power”.

“The Congress government provided colleges, electricity and roads and never denied anything that the chief ministers from the state asked for,” he said.

“During my tenure as the J&K chief minister”, Azad said, “I remember around 40 flights would land at the Srinagar airport every day and they would be full of tourists. The people of Kashmir were happy during the Congress regime at the Centre. The tourists came in large numbers, which directly helped in raising the economy of Kashmir”.

He said a “new work culture was created in J&K when I was the chief minister. I made people work in double and triple shifts. The Hajj house in Srinagar was built in eight months and the first-ever tulip garden was completed in one-and-a-half years at just Rs four crore expenditure. The garden is bigger than mughal gardens”.

Azad said his government “made it a point that no Kashmiris dies at the hands of forces”.

“During my tenure, for the first time in the history of Kashmir, I ordered an inquiry when three street vendors from Lal Chowk were allegedly picked up and had gone missing”.

He said that during the course of inquiry, “it came out that on the same day (of missing of Lal Chowk trio), the Kashmir police claimed that they killed three Pakistani-based militants”.

“I asked for opening of their graves and after identification by their parents, it came out that the bodies were of the trio who had gone missing from Lal Chowk”.

Azad said the J&K police were “responsible for many atrocities” in the Valley.

“I salute those policemen who were killed in the line of duty. But there are some police personnel who killed innocent people to receive money and promotions,” he said.

Azad said during his tenure, “an illiterate person or a farmer or somebody else would join militancy, but today, doctors, engineers, professors, teachers, PG students are joining militancy and the Modi government is squarely responsible for creating an atmosphere in which people don’t have faith in the government”. “What is the reason for attacks on army camps during the regime of BJP?” Azad asked. “Modi wants to win Kashmir and hearts of people at gunpoint”.

“In democracy, no one can win the hearts of people at gunpoint,” he said.

Later, talking to media-persons on the sidelines of the workers’ meet, Azad said that Modi “should know how to control his tongue and think twice before speaking anything”.

“The poll manifesto of the Congress is very exclusive. We have never made such an exclusive manifesto in the last 35 years,” he said.

“The separate voices (sic) coming from Kashmir are all because of Modi and his failed Kashmir policy. Modi pushed Kashmiris to the wall and now the voices of dissent are coming from all quarters,” he said.

Meanwhile, Azad Wednesday alleged that the rule of Narendra Modi in India was a “dictatorship rule” and it was Mufti Sayeed’s “biggest mistake to join hands with Bharatiya Janata Party which has now pushed Jammu and Kashmir into 1990-era”.

He was addressing a public rally in Manjakote area of Rajouri district.

“The rule of Narendra Modi has been a dictatorship rule in the country. The Modi government got cases registered against all its political rivals,” he said.

“The Modi government tried to take credit of every work done by the country’s forces and scientists for its own political mileage,” Azad said.

He urged people to cast vote in favour of Congress candidate to ensure his win.

Earlier Azad addressed a political rally in Poonch.

Sumit Bhargav